Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I have to admit, my opinion of Besson's ability to make a script for and put together a kick ass movie was slipping a bit, but Taken showed me he still has some tricks up his sleeve. It's a bit light on plot and intelligence or subtlety to the dialogue, but it's the perfect vehicle for one of the most enjoyable straight-up revenge movies I've seen. You pretty much know everything you need to from the commercials that either focus on the pivotal scene where Liam Neeson's daughter get captured or show a montage of him beating the shit out of people. Put those together, and that's what the movie is. Morel's directorial debut was with District B13, another Besson script, and he really seems to know how to do action in the Bourne/new Bond style that I like so much, although the camera is thankfully a little less spastic when stuff's happening. The part is much more physically demanding than artistically challenging for Neeson, although he brings his usual great self to it and handles everything better than you'd expect from a 56 year old.

There's really not too much to say about Taken without just gushing about how cool Liam is. He's not just a good fighter, he has all sorts of skills that he uses creatively to look for his daughter. He gathers the clues he needs a bit conveniently and quickly, but it works to drive the very tight pacing forward as he tears a path of destruction to find what he came for. And when the action does get going, it's really quite good. To be honest, I wasn't completely feeling the movie for the first hour. There were some cool moments, but the biggest scene was a car chase through dirt that I didn't much care for, and it wasn't totally clicking. But as the film goes on and Neeson's daughter gets closer to being lost forever, he gets visibly more determined and starts going further to take care of things, and his desperation shows as the brutality of his actions builds. It's effective both from a story perspective and the fact that it makes the movie backloaded, with standout moments occuring more and more frequently as it approaches the end. There aren't any big surprises to watch out for or complicated repercussions, it's just an unrelenting, very direct film that puts everything on the table and says, "Here's what we did, enjoy it if you want to." And I did enjoy it quite a lot.

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